I've been lifting weights since January 2010. I typically follow one routine for six weeks and then take a week (sometimes two) off before starting a modified routine.

What I've noticed is that when I resume lifting after an idle week, I become incredibly sleepy four or five hours after my weightlifting session. This lasts for about a week and then I no longer have to deal with this sleepiness until I resume lifting after taking another week.

Does anyone have a good idea of what's going on here? I think I actually gain more muscle during my first week exercising after a break but I really am not sure.

Should I try switching to 3 weeks of lifting with one week breaks or am I over thinking this?

  • I assume your switching looks something like: Routine 1, Break, Routine 2, Break, Routine 1, Break. Does it happen after each break? Or just when starting Routine 2? Jun 15, 2011 at 16:40
  • It seems to happen after each break.
    – somas1
    Jun 15, 2011 at 18:55
  • How old are you? I'm 41, so for me if I take a couple of weeks off I definitely feel it. But when I was younger, nothing stopped me.
    – Salsero69
    Jun 15, 2011 at 23:39
  • I'm 37 years old.
    – somas1
    Jun 16, 2011 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


You are probably over-thinking this. Here's what is happening:

  • Your body needs energy to adapt to what you are asking it to do
  • Since you told your body you need it to build muscle, that's what it started doing
  • After a week off you may not lose any strength, but your body was starting to adapt to lower demands on it
  • As you get older, it takes longer for your body to adapt and recover

An occasional break here and there is good--for example going on vacation. Enjoy the vacation instead of obsessing over where to find an adequate gym. However, too many breaks can force you into the cycle you found yourself in.

Recovery requires two things: food and sleep. You really need 8 hours of sleep a day, as your body takes that time to rebuild muscles and perform its recovery activities. You also need the protein that your body requires to build the new muscle--as well as calories to burn as muscle building takes a lot of energy.

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